Murder on the Orient Express clip

Kenneth Branagh is pulling double duty in the upcoming film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famous novel Murder on the Orient Express: he’s directing it and also starring as Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective who uses his impressive deduction skills to try to solve a murder that happened during a cross-country train trip.

But here’s a mystery that might even stump a sleuth as talented as Poirot: why would 20th Century Fox choose this particular clip to promote their movie? Check it out below and see what I mean.

As I wrote about in a recent Water Cooler entry, I just read Christie’s novel for the first time and enjoyed its stripped-down, to-the-point prose. I was hoping for the same kind of feel with the movie, and I’ve generally been pleased with what I’ve seen from the trailers so far. I think the casting is particularly spot-on, and it looks like Branagh has a good handle on the mystery aspect and crafting a period-appropriate style and giving the movie a real sense of time and place. So while I’m cautiously optimistic about the film, I’m a bit confused about this clip.

Murder on the Orient Express clip

Accusations of abuse against Johnny Depp are well-documented and have permeated the cultural consciousness. Even before the Harvey Weinstein scandal, public perception of Depp had dropped off dramatically, and many have denounced Warner Bros. for bringing him into the fold for one of that studio’s biggest franchises, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It’s becoming more and more difficult for people to turn a blind eye to actors’ off-screen behavior, which is good news – but why, then, would Fox debut a clip that makes Depp seem like a predator in order to sell their movie?

Of all the moments captured during the film, that’s the one they pick? One in which he physically looms over Michelle Pfieffer‘s character and menacingly tries to intimidate her? The fact that she seems to be capable of handling it doesn’t matter – what does it say about us, or about what Fox thinks about us (the moviegoing public), that they think we’d watch this clip and be excited about seeing this movie? I’m not saying this scene should have been cut from the movie entirely, but for a studio to willingly single out a scene like this for the express (heh) purposes of giving us a sense of the film’s tone and whetting our appetite seems wildly misguided. Or maybe it’s just me. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

What starts out as a lavish train ride through Europe quickly unfolds into one of the most stylish, suspenseful and thrilling mysteries ever told. From the novel by best selling author Agatha Christie, “Murder on the Orient Express” tells the tale of thirteen strangers stranded on a train, where everyone’s a suspect. One man must race against time to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.

Murder on the Orient Express pulls into theaters on November 10, 2017.

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